Saturday, 27 June 2009

The sun has got his hat on

The plants at Crocus are looking amazing! Some very last minute additions sorted on Thursday but nothing too horrendous. Had to dash and get some Digitalis purpurea this morning from Cambridge (was lucky to find some in flower and of such good quality) but apart from that, all is on target with the plants.

The weather forecast says it will be 30 degrees on Tuesday and Wednesday so after visiting Crocus last week, I popped into a garden centre on the way home and got a straw hat! I think I'm going to need it as this coming week will be outside for 8-10 hours each day planting up with friends Janet, Nick and Siobhan. Stocked up on water, too, and trying not to panic that the heat is going to to make everything go over too quickly. We should be OK as Crocus have made sure plants are in bud with nothing too far into flower.

My own garden at home is looking sadly neglected! I've promised myself a long holiday there after the show in the hope that I can tame what has become a wilderness...

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Making a bee-line

Despite taking nearly three hours to get there (and again back home) on the M25 (someone, please suggest alternative routes!), today has seen a large tranche of project done and dusted. The meadow turf arrived nice and early: 'it's a shame they didn't have time to cut the turf', the cheeky delivery driver said, tongue in cheek. I didn't get chance to see it in situ but Marc e-mailed me photos over later in the day. The trees are all in position. The Betula nigra, American River Birch, has stunning dark peeling bark, soooooo gorgeous.

Next was Paul and mate from Arcangel with the sculpture. Wow, it's mesmerising and so relaxing just watching the steel grass blades naturally sway in the breeze. An amazing feet of engineering, with each blade having a pendant weight to regulate the movement. You can't see these weights on the garden now, they are underground, so a quick piccie below for the techie readers amongst you.
The wild flowers turned up later, looking very relaxed after being stuck in traffic on the M25. Ian Forster has personally selected the plants for me and we even have some poppies!

But the real eye catcher today is the sedum roof. Everyone stops and stares at it. The bees love it, too - it's an all day breakfast for them!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Wild about flowers

Several e-mails arrrived on Monday morning, all photos of wild flowers from Ian Forster at British Wildflower Plants in Norfolk. To save me a trip and half a day out of my schedule, which seems to have every minute of my day sorted down to the last second, Ian thought it a good idea to discuss the wild flowers by 'remote office' mode. All the plants are looking good here, lots of flowers, although those I took away from them a month ago and potted up at home (around 300 plants), aren't flowering as much as I'd like. Driving around the countryside, the verges have meadow cranesbill blooming with brilliant blue flowers. My potted up ones here have no flowers. These and the other plants went down on site from home yesterday and are placed in a sunny position, awaiting planting up on Sunday.

The building has the roof on now! The site is incredibly hot and dry in this weather, but rain is scheduled for the weekend: just in time for planting up...! At least we can shelter under the building in the downpours.
Lots of Sadolin woodstain going on the fencing and building, too. After a discussion with Vince and Marc, we agreed that two coats of Sadolin Classic would look better on the fencing - that's Daniel's work sorted for the next day then!

Monday, 22 June 2009

The art of grass

'We spent all day yesterday just watching how grasses move in the wind,' said David Boyall and Paul Currell at Arcangel at Bendish, Hertfordshire, who are making the grass sculpture for the garden. I love these guys and their creativity! They are totally committed to getting the movement of the sculpture right and the grasses, five blades, will sway in different directions and at different speads, all controlled by weights on the bottom of each stainless steel blade. 'This is all experimental and thinking on the job,' says Paul 'and I've making and trying different weights to get the movement just right.'

I have every confidence that the sculpture will look fantastic. We all agreed that it should not be the main focal point of the garden, just blend with what is already there and this Thursday sees David and Paul installing their creation in the garden.

This week also sees the emergence of trees, wildflowers, meadow turf and the sedum roof on the building. Does anyone have a few spare hours I could squeeze into my days? I seem to have run out of allocated time to get things done!

Friday, 19 June 2009

Sleepless In Cambridgeshire

We started Build-up on Monday 16th June for the Sadolin Nature To Nurture Garden at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Marc Patrick and the guys from Garden Care Contracting are steaming ahead with the construction. We have three weeks to get the garden created but this relatively simple design has a tight schedule. Which keeps me awake at night. And when I do sleep, I'm not sure if I've been dreaming or just randomly thinking about things when I awake, several times, in the night with thoughts of building construction and plants fresh in mind. It all blurs into one haze of excitement mingled with mild panic...

But it's great to be building this garden, at last. Having lived with this design in my head and on various bits of paper for the last nine months, it's a relief to see the garden emerge from the scenic parkland in the shadow of Henry VII's palace at Hampton Court. Driving down into the show site on Tuesday this week, my first visit, it hardly felt like 12 months since I was last doing this. The usual rush of panic lept up and grabbed me as I stood in front of the garden plot: it's huge, the flower beds are bigger than I thought and have I got enough plants? Crocus are supplying plants again and visiting them later that day, my initial fears about plant numbers were soon put to rest . The warm weather, I thought, might have caused a lot of my planting list to go over but only a mere handful needed swopsies, easily found as Mark from Crocus and I walked around the nursery in the afternoon, clipboards in hand, scibbling alternatives. Must say, all the carefuly nourished plants I've ordered there are looking soooo fab! Well done guys.

Another site visit on Thursday to the show and the building is taking shape. It looks really tall, but still lots of other elements to build into the equation yet! The sedum plants for the roof arrive next Monday, trees on Tuesday whilst wildflowers, sculpture and meadow turf trickle into the remainder of the week.